Green Bonds Accelerate the Conservation of Working Forests
But America’s working forests are disappearing at an alarming rate and once they are gone, we all lose out. Our Working Forest Fund is a proven model that saves the most critical working forests before it is too late.
Photo by Ivan LaBianca
In 2019, we turned to a unique source — the financial markets — to scale our model more quickly. We issued the first-ever green bonds to protect forests. In a bold move, we placed $150 million of unsecured ten-year bonds and put the proceeds to work. By the end of the year, a substantial portion of bond proceeds had been invested, along with other sources of funding, in five Working Forest Fund projects. Together, these 128,000 acres of working forestland will safeguard 750 jobs and sequester nearly 30 million tons of CO2 all while filtering drinking water downstream and providing unspoiled places to hike, hunt and play.
But our work is not done. With our partners, we are working towards permanent conservation solutions for each of these forests and in turn we will then recycle the green bond proceeds into the next high priority forests. In order to continue scaling this effort, we plan to match the green bond funds with philanthropic support to multiply the impact and the acres of forest we can save. Because people, the planet and our economy depend on it.
Photo by Stacy Funderburke
“We believe this unique green bond offering will not only help combat climate change by protecting high conservation working forests but also ensure sustainable livelihoods for the communities that depend on those ecosystems.”
— Kevin Smith, Vice President, Goldman Sachs
Three Rivers Forest, NY. Photo by Carl Heilman.
WHY IT MATTERS
One of the working forests benefitting from the green bond is Three Rivers Forest — 51,000-acres of exceptional hardwood timberland nestled in the heart of New York’s Adirondack Park and near the headwaters of the three major rivers flowing into the St. Lawrence River. Taking this property off the market buys us time to work with stakeholders to develop a long-term conservation plan for the forest so that it continues to provide economic, community and environmental benefits.
We are sustainably managing this working forest in the interim, supporting timber-related jobs, hunting and fishing traditions, snowmobiling and other types of outdoor recreation opportunities that draw nearly 10 million visitors to the Adirondack region every year.
Senior Director of Development
Senior Vice President, Working Forest Fund